The Q7 on the other hand comes brilliantly equipped and has a sumptuous interior with seats that are the most comfortable.
Size is something the Q7 has no short supply of. Raised to its full ride height, that massive grille, slit headlights and wide haunches make it look like Mike Tyson’s pet tiger. . If anything, it’s the rear styling that’s a bit generic and uninspired. It looks too round and maybe even a bit old-fashioned. Also, the Q7 is so long that it hangs over the edge of most parking spaces like a portly stomach over a belt. The recent facelift has given the Q7 numerous detail improvements. On the outside, the headlights are new and get Audi’s LED daytime running lights and the turn indicators are now LED’s, there’s the subtle redesigns for the grille, notably the thick chrome vertical highlights, the front and rear bumpers and their under-protectors are marginally altered, the door mouldings are new as are the tail-lights, which are now LED’s. There are new wheels too, but you would need to be a Q7 addict to really spot some of these changes.
Apart from a minor visual refresh, the key change is the new brake energy recovery system. All Q7s now get this feature. It works like this. When you brake or when you are coasting, the kinetic energy you are carting is converted into electrical energy and temporarily stored in the on-board electrical system battery. When you accelerate hard, the stored charge in the battery supports the car’s electrical system, reducing the load on the alternator and marginally improving fuel economy. Atleast, that’s the theory. It’s extremely non-intrusive and if you weren’t told about it, you wouldn’t realize its there.
Its built on a monocoque chassis, however doesnt have dedicated 4WD transfer case as standard and all rely on electronics and full-time 4WD system to get it through off-road sections. It uses double wishbone independent suspension up front and multi-link suspension at the rear – the layout is more ‘Sport’ than ‘Utility’. It comes with an adjustable air suspension system, And given its size and supreme highway abilities, it’s only fitting that its massive fuel tank and diesel engine gives it fantastic continent-munching ability. It comes with run-flat tyres, however Audi provides a space saver with the Q7.
The Q7’s well appointed cabin makes you feel extra special and small upgrades to the well constructed interior allow it to keep pace with the ever-rising standards in this area. Inside, the appearance and finish of the instruments and switchgear has been improved, along with the new interior mood-lighting and the latest version of the MMI infotainment system which comes with a 10GB internal hard-drive. The seats are the most comfy – they feel like armchairs – and the red-and-white lighting on the instrument console, the sculpted steering and the spacious cabin make you feel like you’ve spent money well. Thanks to its length, there’s fantastic space for the front and middle row passengers. It’s got the most usable third row too and if you need boot space, the last row can be folded into the floor to make a flat loading area. It’s the most practical too, with plenty of cubbyholes and thoughtful features like the net in the boot to tie luggage down. Sad then that the middle row can seat only two (there is a seven-seater version though). Also, the massive sunroof unnecessarily soaks up heat because its transluscent shade acts as a greenhouse, trapping heat.
Performance & Economy
Q7 is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 TDi which is a very refined unit. The same powerplant has proved its brilliance in its lightest application, the A4 saloon but in a behemoth weighing 2.3 tonnes, the performance of the torquey 56kgm engine is obviously blunted. Still, the Q7’s performance is in no way slow. It’ll sail past the 100kph mark in 10.6 seconds, and while it doesn’t snap to throttle inputs like its competition the BMW X5, it does a pretty good job of hustling its bulk. Still, overtaking manoeuvres do need a bit of planning; the six-speed auto is lethargic and takes its own time to kickdown. It doesn’t have a paddle-shift function and has an irritating tendency to upshift mid-corner, which is exactly why it isn’t the best engine-gearbox combo.
Not that too many owners will be bothered about the fuel efficiency but for the record the Q7 delivers 5.5kpl in the city and 9.1kpl on the highway.
Ride & Handling
Despite its size and weight, the Q7 is a fairly decent thing to punt around corners. The steering is typically Audi — light and effortless but devoid of feel. The Quattro set-up is biased towards road driving and under normal driving conditions power is split 40/60, front to rear, which gives the Q7 a nice handling balance in brisk driving. All Q7s get variable-height, adaptive air suspension and if you set it to Dynamic mode, it’ll surprise you with its agility. Body movements are well controlled, and it grips willingly and steers accurately. It rides quite well too – set it in Comfort mode and it absorbs most bumps without fuss. There is some lumpiness present over rippled tarmac, but we put it down to the big wheels and the low-profile tyres. The taller 60-profile tyres are recommended. They may not look as nice, but they do wonders for the ride.
The Q7 on the other hand comes brilliantly equipped and has a sumptuous interior with seats that are the most comfortable. It’s practical, very refined and has greater road presence felt (important for SUV owners). However, it’s not dynamically the best. The ride quality isn’t very settled on rough surfaces, the steering isn’t very engaging and the overall driving experience didn’t delight us as much as we would have liked.
What it costs
Ex-showroom (Delhi) Rs 52.9-66.5 lakh
Warranty 24 months/unlimited mileage
Installation Front, longitudinal
Compression ratio 16.8:1
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl, DOHC per bank
Power to weight 103.22bhp per tonne
Gearbox 6-speed automatic
Length 5089 mm
Height 1697-1772 mm
Wheel base 3002 mm
Chassis & Body
Tyres 275/45 R20
Front Independent, double wishbone,
Rear Independent, double wishbone,
Type Power-assisted rack and pinion
Type of power assist Electro-mechanical
Front Ventilated disc
Rear Ventilated disc
City 5.5 kpl
Highway 9.1 kpl
Tank size 100 kpl
Range at a glance - Engines
Petrol 3.6 litre, 4.2 litre
Diesel 3.0 litre